MILITARY JOBS DIVERSIFICATION PLANNING IN THE STATE OF MAINE
the most recent project of Maine's
Midcoast Citizens for Sustainable Economies
sustainable – adjective \sə-ˈstā-nə-bəl\
- able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed
IN 2014, Midcoast Citizens for Sustainable Economies began looking at sustaining current jobs and creating new jobs in Maine. MCSE is a local group in the Bath-Brunswick area. Our perspective is both local to this area and also statewide. Our short term goals were to increase public awareness, facilitate public input, and dialog with Maine’s elected officials. Our longer term goal is to develop comprehensive statewide economic planning.
MCSE’s initial focus was the impact of military spending in Maine. The DoD had contracts with 382 companies for a total value of over $2.2 billion in Maine in 2013 (Source: Bloomberg and USAspending.gov - 28th highest input of all the states, providences and DC and 4% of GSP) providing over 17,000 direct jobs for Mainers. Maine has lost about ten thousand jobs in the military sector in the past twenty-five years. BIW has gone from 11,000 jobs to approximately 5,500 and the closing of the Brunswick Naval Air Station, in 2011, created another loss of about 5,000 jobs. Response to both losses has been minimal.
Our efforts began in April, 2014, with Bath City Council and Economic Development Committee presentations, articles, and press releases. This was followed up by a standing room only Public Forum in June at the Winter Street Church in Bath. MCSE concentrated in early fall on an economic questionnaire to candidates for Governor and Congress. The questionnaire and responses received can be found on the Events/ Project section of this web site.
With the elections behind us, we are turning our attention to other sectors that are critical to Maine’s economy and developments that are impacting them. Global warming, the major environmental factor of our times, only occasionally enters discussions, and usually late in the game. Our changing climate has cast dire warnings in our fishing, forestry, and tourist industries. Manufacturing jobs are disappearing across the State with little evidence of a strategic, forward looking, and creative effort at economic development.
Activity in Maine, to these economic impacts, has mostly been reactive. Individual communities, Bath among them, have begun to look at projected impacts of Global Warming and sea level rise on Coastal communities. Little is known about relevant economic development, either local or State-wide. What we are lacking is a broad comprehensive state-wide planning effort. Economic development requires investment. We have seen, over the past four years, statewide investments, through the issue of bonds withheld, due in part to the lack of a long range plan for the economy.
Electoral posturing is done. What Maine needs is some serious work on long range planning based on science, our natural resources, our productive work-ethic labor force, and creative ideas and investments. Maine needs to be pro-active about sustainable Maine jobs and our economy.
We invite you to be a part of this conversation. Please drop us an email here.
For full details about the forum, along with helpful links and information, read here.
You can see a video of the event here.